A molecular phylogeny of the species from the Trechus brucki clade (previously Trechus uhagoni group)based on fragments of four mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene is given. We describe Trechus (Trechus) bouilloni
sp. n. from the western pre–Pyrenees: Sierras de Urbasa–Andía, Navarra, Spain. The species was collected in mesovoid shallow substratum (mss), a subterranean environment. Molecular as well as morphological evidences demonstrate that the new species belongs to the Trechus brucki clade. A narrow endemic species of high altitude in western French Pyrenees merged with Trechus brucki Fairmaire, 1862a, Trechus bruckoides
sp. n., is described. A lectotype is designated for Trechus brucki and Trechus planiusculus Fairmaire, 1862b (junior synonym of Trechus brucki). The species group is redefined based on molecular and morphological characters, and renamed as the brucki group, as Trechus brucki was the first described species of the clade. A unique synapomorphy of the male genitalia, a characteristic secondary sclerotization of the sperm duct, which is shared by all the species of the brucki group sensu novo, is described and illustrated. The Trechus brucki group sensu novo is composed of Trechus beusti (Schaufuss, 1863), Trechus bouilloni
sp. n., Trechus brucki, Trechus bruckoides
sp. n., Trechus grenieri Pandellé, 1867, T. uhagoni uhagoni Crotch, 1869, T. uhagoni ruteri Colas, 1935 and Trechus pieltaini Jeannel, 1920. We discuss the taxonomy of the group and provide illustrations of structures showing the differences between the species, along with distribution data and biogeographical comments.
Carabidae; Trechini; Trechus brucki group
; new species; molecular phylogeny; subterranean environment; Pyrenees; France; Spain
The geographic distribution of evolutionary lineages and the patterns of gene flow upon secondary contact provide insight into the process of divergence and speciation. We explore the evolutionary history of the common lizard Zootoca vivipara (= Lacerta vivipara) in the Iberian Peninsula and test the role of the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains in restricting gene flow and driving lineage isolation and divergence. We also assess patterns of introgression among lineages upon secondary contact, and test for the role of high-elevation trans-mountain colonisations in explaining spatial patterns of genetic diversity. We use mtDNA sequence data and genome-wide AFLP loci to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among lineages, and measure genetic structure.
The main genetic split in mtDNA corresponds generally to the French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees as previously reported, in contrast to genome-wide AFLP data, which show a major division between NW Spain and the rest. Both types of markers support the existence of four distinct and geographically congruent genetic groups, which are consistent with major topographic barriers. Both datasets reveal the presence of three independent contact zones between lineages in the Pyrenean region, one in the Basque lowlands, one in the low-elevation mountains of the western Pyrenees, and one in the French side of the central Pyrenees. The latter shows genetic evidence of a recent, high-altitude trans-Pyrenean incursion from Spain into France.
The distribution and age of major lineages is consistent with a Pleistocene origin and a role for both the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains in driving isolation and differentiation of Z. vivipara lineages at large geographic scales. However, mountain ranges are not always effective barriers to dispersal, and have not prevented a recent high-elevation trans-Pyrenean incursion that has led to asymmetrical introgression among divergent lineages. Cytonuclear discordance in patterns of genetic structure and introgression at contact zones suggests selection may be involved at various scales. Suture zones are important areas for the study of lineage formation and speciation, and our results show that biogeographic barriers can yield markedly different phylogeographic patterns in different vertebrate and invertebrate taxa.
Cytonuclear incongruence; Gene flow; Phylogeography; Secondary contact; Speciation; Vicariance
Both Rheum palmatum and R. tanguticum are important but endangered medicinal plants endemic to China. In this study, we aimed to (i) investigate the level and pattern of genetic variability within/among populations of those species; (ii) evaluate genetic differentiation between both species and its relationships and ascertain whether both species are consistent with their current taxonomical treatment as separate species; and (iii) discuss the implications for the effective conservation of two species.
Total 574 individuals from 30 populations of R. palmatum and R. tanguticum were collected, covering the entire distribution range of two species in China. The genetic variation within and among 30 populations was evaluated using inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers.
Twelve selected ISSR primers generated a total of 175 fragments, 173 (98.86%) of which were polymorphic. The Nei's gene diversity (H) and Shannon's index (I) of both species were high at species level (H = 0.3107, I = 0.4677 for R. palmatum; H = 0.2848, I = 0.4333 for R. tanguticum). But for both species, the genetic diversity was low at population level, and average within-population diversity of R. palmatum was H = 0.1438, I = 0.2151, and that of R. tanguticum was H = 0.1415, I = 0.2126. The hierarchical AMOVA revealed high levels of among-population genetic differentiation in both species, in line with the gene differentiation coefficient and the limited among-population gene flow (R. palmatum: Φst = 0.592, Gst = 0.537, Nm = 0.432; R. tanguticum: Φst = 0.567, Gst = 0.497, Nm = 0.507). By contrast, only 6.52% of the total genetic variance was partitioned between R. palmatum and R. tanguticum. Bayesian analysis, UPGMA cluster analysis, and PCoA analysis all demonstrated the similar results. A significant isolation-by-distance pattern was revealed in R. palmatum (r = 0.547, P = 0.010), but not in R. tanguticum (r = 0.241, P = 0.100). Based on these results, effective conservation strategies were proposed for these two species. The small molecular variance between R. palmatum and R. tanguticum revealed that they had a common ancestor, and we considered that these two species might not be good species.
• Background and Aims For rare endemics or endangered plant species that reproduce both sexually and vegetatively it is critical to understand the extent of clonality because assessment of clonal extent and distribution has important ecological and evolutionary consequences with conservation implications. A survey was undertaken to understand clonal effects on fine-scale genetic structure (FSGS) in two populations (one from a disturbed and the other from an undisturbed locality) of Echinosophora koreensis, an endangered small shrub belonging to a monotypic genus in central Korea that reproduces both sexually and vegetatively via rhizomes.
• Methods Using inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSRs) as genetic markers, the spatial distribution of individuals was evaluated using Ripley's L(d)-statistics and quantified the spatial scale of clonal spread and spatial distribution of ISSR genotypes using spatial autocorrelation analysis techniques (join-count statistics and kinship coefficient, Fij) for total samples and samples excluding clones.
• Key Results A high degree of differentiation between populations was observed (ΦST(g) = 0·184, P < 0·001). Ripley's L(d)-statistics revealed a near random distribution of individuals in a disturbed population, whereas significant aggregation of individuals was found in an undisturbed site. The join-count statistics revealed that most clones significantly aggregate at ≤6-m interplant distance. The Sp statistic reflecting patterns of correlograms revealed a strong pattern of FSGS for all four data sets (Sp = 0·072–0·154), but these patterns were not significantly different from each other. At small interplant distances (≤2 m), however, jackknifed 95 % CIs revealed that the total samples exhibited significantly higher Fij values than the same samples excluding clones.
• Conclusion The strong FSGS from genets is consistent with two biological and ecological traits of E. koreensis: bee-pollination and limited seed dispersal. Furthermore, potential clone mates over repeated generations would contribute to the observed high Fij values among genets at short distance. To ensure long-term ex situ genetic variability of the endangered E. koreensis, individuals located at distances of 10−12 m should be collected across entire populations of E. koreensis.
Clonal structure; conservation; Echinosophora koreensis; monotypic genus; Fabaceae; fine-scale genetic structure; genets; ISSRs; sampling strategies
The main components of the spatial genetic structure of the populations are neighbourhood size and isolation by distance. These may be inferred from the allele frequencies across a series of populations within a region. Here, the spatial population structure of Proclossiana eunomia was investigated in two mountainous areas of southern Europe (Asturias, Spain and Pyrenees, France) and in two areas of intermediate elevation (Morvan, France and Ardennes, Belgium).
A total of eight polymorphic loci were scored by allozyme electrophoresis, revealing a higher polymorphism in the populations of southern Europe than in those of central Europe.
Isolation by distance effect was much stronger in the two mountain ranges (Pyrenees and Asturias) than in the two areas of lower elevation (Ardennes and Morvan). By contrast, the neighbourhood size estimates were smaller in the Ardennes and in the Morvan than in the two high mountain areas, indicating more common movements between neighbouring patches in the mountains than in plains.
Short and long dispersal events are two phenomena with distinct consequences in the population genetics of natural populations. The differences in level of population differentiation within each the four regions may be explained by change in dispersal in lowland recently fragmented landscapes: on average, butterflies disperse to a shorter distance but the few ones which disperse long distance do so more efficiently. Habitat fragmentation has evolutionary consequences exceeding by far the selection of dispersal related traits: the balance between local specialisation and gene flow would be perturbed, which would modify the extent to which populations are adapted to heterogeneous environments.
Michelia coriacea, a critically endangered tree, has a restricted and fragmented distribution in Southeast Yunnan Province, China. The genetic diversity, genetic structure and gene flow in the three extant populations of this species were detected by 10 inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers and 11 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Examination of genetic diversity revealed that the species maintained a relatively high level of genetic diversity at the species level (percentage of polymorphic bands) PPB = 96.36% from ISSRs; PPL (percentage of polymorphic loci) = 95.56% from SSRs, despite several fragmental populations. Low levels of genetic differentiation among the populations of M. coriacea were detected by Nei’s Gst = 0.187 for ISSR and Wright’s Fst = 0.090 for SSR markers, which is further confirmed by Bayesian model-based STRUCTURE and PCoA analysis that could not reveal a clear separation between populations, although YKP was differentiated to other two populations by ISSR markers. Meanwhile, AMOVA analysis also indicated that 22.84% and 13.90% of genetic variation existed among populations for ISSRs and SSRs, respectively. The high level of genetic diversity, low genetic differentiation, and the population, structure imply that the fragmented habitat and the isolated population of M. coriacea may be due to recent over-exploitation. Conservation and management of M. coriacea should concentrate on maintaining the high level of genetic variability through both in and ex-situ conservation actions.
Michelia coriacea; genetic diversity; critically endangered plant; ISSR markers; SSR markers
Houttuynia cordata is an important traditional Chinese herb with unresolved genetics and taxonomy, which lead to potential problems in the conservation and utilization of the resource. Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were used to assess the level and distribution of genetic diversity in 226 individuals from 15 populations of H. cordata in China. ISSR analysis revealed low genetic variations within populations but high genetic differentiations among populations. This genetic structure probably mainly reflects the historical association among populations. Genetic cluster analysis showed that the basal clade is composed of populations from Southwest China, and the other populations have continuous and eastward distributions. The structure of genetic diversity in H. cordata demonstrated that this species might have survived in Southwest China during the glacial age, and subsequently experienced an eastern postglacial expansion. Based on the results of genetic analysis, it was proposed that as many as possible targeted populations for conservation be included.
genetic variation; Houttuynia cordata; ISSR; population differentiation
The current genetic structure of Iberian populations has presumably been affected by the complex orography of its territory, the different people and civilizations that settled there, its ancient and complex history, the diverse and persistent sociocultural patterns in its different regions, and also by the effects of the Iberian Peninsula representing a refugium area after the last glacial maximum. This paper presents the first data on GM and KM immunoglobulin allotypes in the Galician population and, thus, provides further insights into the extent of genetic diversity in populations settled in the geographic extremes of the Cantabrian region of northern Spain. Furthermore, the genetic relationships of Galicians with other European populations have been investigated.
Galician population shows a genetic profile for GM haplotypes that is defined by the high presence of the European Mediterranean GM*3 23 5* haplotype, and the relatively high incidence of the African marker GM*1,17 23' 5*. Data based on comparisons between Galician and other Spanish populations (mainly from the north of the peninsula) reveal a poor correlation between geographic and genetic distances (r = 0.30, P = 0.105), a noticeable but variable genetic distances between Galician and Basque subpopulations, and a rather close genetic affinity between Galicia and Valencia, populations which are geographically separated by a long distance and have quite dissimilar cultures and histories. Interestingly, Galicia occupies a central position in the European genetic map, despite being geographically placed at one extreme of the European continent, while displaying a close genetic proximity to Portugal, a finding that is consistent with their shared histories over centuries.
These findings suggest that the population of Galicia is the result of a relatively balanced mixture of European populations or of the ancestral populations that gave rise to them. This would support the importance of the migratory movements that have taken place in Europe over the course of recent human history and their effects on the European genetic landscape.
• Background and Aims Vella pseudocytisus subsp. paui (Cruciferae) is a narrow endemic plant to the Teruel province (eastern Spain), which is listed in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species. Two distinct ploidy levels (diploid, 2n = 34, and tetraploid, 2n = 68) have been reported for this taxon that belongs to the core subtribe Vellinae, a western Mediterranean group of shrubby taxa with a chromosome base number of x = 17. Allozyme and AFLP analyses were conducted (a) to test for the ploidy and putative palaeo-allopolyploid origin of this taxon, (b) to explore levels of genetic diversity and spatial structure of its populations, and (c) to address in-situ and ex-situ strategies for its conservation.
• Methods Six populations that covered the entire geographical range of this taxon were sampled and examined for 19 allozyme loci and three AFLP primer pair combinations. In addition, the gametic progenies of five individuals were analysed for two allozyme loci that showed fixed heterozygosity.
• Key Results Multiple banded allozyme profiles for most of the surveyed loci indicated the polyploidy of this taxon. Co-inherited fixed heterozygous patterns were exhibited by the gametophytic tissues of the mother plants. Both allozyme and AFLP markers detected high levels of genetic diversity, and a strong micro-spatial genetic structure was recovered from AFLP phenetic analyses and Mantel correlograms.
• Conclusions Allozyme data support the hypothesis of an allotetraploid origin of Vella pseudocytisus subsp. paui that could be representative of other taxa of the core Vellinae group. AFLP data distinguished three geographically distinct groups with no genetic interaction among them. Allotetraploidy and outcrossing reproduction have probably contributed to maintenance of high levels of genetic variability of the populations, whereas habitat fragmentation may have enhanced the high genetic isolation observed among groups. In-situ microgenetic reserves and a selective sampling of germplasm stocks for ex-situ conservation of this taxon are proposed.
AFLP; allotetraploidy; allozymes; conservation; endangered species; genetic diversity; Iberian endemics; Mantel correlograms; palaeopolyploidy; spatial structure; Vella pseudocytisus subsp. paui; Vellinae
Bromeliads are of great economic importance in flower production; however little information is available with respect to genetic characterization of cultivated bromeliads thus far. In the present study, a selection of cultivated bromeliads was characterized via inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers with an emphasis on genetic diversity and population structure. Twelve ISSR primers produced 342 bands, of which 287 (~84%) were polymorphic, with polymorphic bands per primer ranging from 17 to 34. The Jaccard’s similarity ranged from 0.08 to 0.89 and averaged ~0.30 for the investigated bromeliads. The Bayesian-based approach, together with the un-weighted paired group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA)-based clustering and the principal coordinate analysis (PCoA), distinctly grouped the bromeliads from Neoregelia, Guzmania, and Vriesea into three separately clusters, well corresponding with their botanical classifications; whereas the bromeliads of Aechmea other than the recently selected hybrids were not well assigned to a cluster. Additionally, ISSR marker was proven efficient for the identification of hybrids and bud sports of cultivated bromeliads. The findings achieved herein will further our knowledge about the genetic variability within cultivated bromeliads and therefore facilitate breeding for new varieties of cultivated bromeliads in future as well.
cultivated bromeliads; genetic diversity; population structure; ISSR
• Background and Aims Nouelia insignis Franch., a monotypic genus of the Asteraceae, is an endangered species endemic in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces of China. Most of the populations are seriously threatened. Some of them are even at the brink of extinction. In this study, the genetic diversity and differentiation between populations of this species were examined in two drainage areas.
• Methods DNA fingerprinting based on inter-simple sequence repeat polymorphisms was employed to detect the genetic variation and population structure in the species.
• Key Results Genetic diversity at species level was high with P = 65·05 % (percentage of polymorphic loci) and Ht = 0·2248 (total genetic diversity). The coefficient of genetic differentiation among populations, Gst, which was estimated by partitioning the total gene diversity, was 0·2529; whereas, the genetic differentiation between populations in the Jinsha and Nanpan drainage areas was unexpectedly low (Gst = 0·0702).
• Conclusions Based on the genetic analyses of the DNA fingerprinting, recent habitat fragmentation may not have led to genetic differentiation or the loss of genetic diversity in the rare species. Spatial apportionment of fingerprinting polymorphisms provides a footprint of historical migration across geographical barriers. The high diversity detected in this study holds promise for conservation and restoration efforts to save the endangered species from extinction.
Conservation; gene flow; genetic diversity; genetic differentiation; ISSR fingerprinting; Nouelia insignis
• Background and Aims The Cycas balansae complex is arguably a controversial group with regard to species delineation. Some taxonomists recognize a single polymorphic species while others distinguish five narrowly defined ones. The unresolved taxonomy has the potential to bring about significant problems for species conservation. Thus, an investigation to examine the genetic diversity and differentiation in the C. balansae complex was performed to determine the relationship of populations and to test whether the morphologically defined segregations represent genetically distinct units.
• Methods Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were employed to assess the genetic diversity in the C. balansae complex with a sample of 158 individuals from all extant populations in China.
• Key Results ISSR markers revealed low genetic diversity in all populations studied (HE and HO averaged 0·0639 and 0·0798 at the population level, respectively). Phenetic analysis showed that the C. balansae complex grouped into five clusters closely corresponding to the narrowly defined C. balansae, C. parvula, C. shiwandashanica, C. tanqingii and C. simplicipinna.
• Conclusions ISSR data suggest that the C. balansae complex has evolved into five genetically distinct units. These might be derived from a relatively widespread common ancestor through multiple vicariant events including geographical isolation resulting from the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate and from Pleistocene glaciations. In conservation, attention should be paid to each genetic unit.
Conservation; Cycas balansae complex; ISSR; genetic differentiation; genetic units
Helichrysum italicum (Asteraceae) is a small shrub endemic to the Mediterranean Basin, growing in fragmented and diverse habitats. The species has attracted attention due to its secondary metabolite content, but little effort has as yet been dedicated to assessing the genetic and metabolite diversity present in these populations. Here, we describe the diversity of 50 H. italicum populations collected from a range of habitats in Sardinia.
H. italicum plants were AFLP fingerprinted and the composition of their leaf essential oil characterized by GC-MS. The relationships between the genetic structure of the populations, soil, habitat and climatic variables and the essential oil chemotypes present were evaluated using Bayesian clustering, contingency analyses and AMOVA.
The Sardinian germplasm could be partitioned into two AFLP-based clades. Populations collected from the southwestern region constituted a homogeneous group which remained virtually intact even at high levels of K. The second, much larger clade was more diverse. A positive correlation between genetic diversity and elevation suggested the action of natural purifying selection. Four main classes of compounds were identified among the essential oils, namely monoterpenes, oxygenated monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and oxygenated sesquiterpenes. Oxygenated monoterpene levels were significantly correlated with the AFLP-based clade structure, suggesting a correspondence between gene pool and chemical diversity.
The results suggest an association between chemotype, genetic diversity and collection location which is relevant for the planning of future collections aimed at identifying valuable sources of essential oil.
Background and Aims
High mountain ranges of the Mediterranean Basin harbour a large number of narrowly endemic plants. In this study an investigation is made of the levels and partitioning of genetic diversity in Narcissus longispathus, a narrow endemic of south-eastern Spanish mountains characterized by a naturally fragmented distribution due to extreme specialization on a rare habitat type. By using dense sampling of populations across the species' whole geographical range, genetic structuring at different geographical scales is also examined.
Using horizontal starch-gel electrophoresis, allozyme variability was screened at 19 loci for a total of 858 individuals from 27 populations. The data were analysed by means of standard statistical approaches in order to estimate gene diversity and the genetic structure of the populations.
Narcissus longispathus displayed high levels of genetic diversity and extensive diversification among populations. At the species level, the percentage of polymorphic loci was 68 %, with average values of 2·1, 0·11 and 0·14 for the number of alleles per locus, observed heterozygosity and expected heterozygosity, respectively. Southern and more isolated populations tended to have less genetic variability than northern and less-isolated populations. A strong spatial patterning of genetic diversity was found at the various spatial scales. Gene flow/drift equilibrium occurred over distances <4 km. Beyond that distance divergence was relatively more influenced by drift. The populations studied seem to derive from three panmictic units or ‘gene pools’, with levels of admixture being greatest in the central and south-eastern portions of the species' range.
In addition to documenting a case of high genetic diversity in a narrow endemic plant with naturally fragmented populations, the results emphasize the need for dense population sampling and examination of different geographical scales for understanding population genetic structure in habitat specialists restricted to ecological islands.
Allozymes; genetic diversity; geographical scale; habitat isolation; Narcissus longispathus; Mediterranean endemism; mountain range; natural fragmented distribution
Samia cynthia ricini (Lepidoptera:Saturniidae), the Indian eri silkworm, contributes significantly to the production of commercial silk and is widely distributed in the Brahmaputra river valley in North-Eastern India. Due to over exploitation coupled with rapid deforestation, most of the natural populations of S. cynthia ricini are dwindling rapidly and its preservation has become an important goal. Assessment of the genetic structure of each population is a prerequisite for a sustainable conservation program. DNA fingerprinting to detect genetic variation has been used in different insect species not only between populations, but also between individuals within a population. Since, information on the genetic basis of phenotypic variability and genetic diversity within the S. cynthia ricini populations is scanty, inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) system was used to assess genetic diversity and differentiation among six commercially exploited S. cynthia ricini populations. Twenty ISSR primers produced 87% of inter population variability among the six populations. Genetic distance was lowest between the populations Khanapara (E5) and Mendipathar (E6) (0.0654) and highest between Dhanubhanga (E4) and Titabar (E3) (0.3811). Within population, heterozygosity was higher in Borduar (E2) (0.1093) and lowest in Titabar (E3) (0.0510). Highest gene flow (0.9035) was between E5 and E6 and the lowest (0.2172) was between E3 and E5. Regression analysis showed positive correlation between genetic distance and geographic distance among the populations. The high GST value (0.657) among the populations combined with low gene flow contributes significantly to the genetic differentiation among the S. cynthia ricini populations. Based on genetic diversity, these populations can be considered as different ecotypes and in situ conservation of them is recommended.
Eri phenotype; geographic isolation; gene flow; heterozygosity
Thuja sutchuenensis Franch. is a critically endangered plant endemic to the North-East Chongqing, China. Genetic variation was studied to assess the distribution of genetic diversity within and among seven populations from the single remnant locations, using inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. A total of 15 primers generated 310 well defined bands, with an average of 20.7 bands per primer. The seven populations revealed a relatively high level of genetic diversity in the species. The percentage of polymorphic bands, Nei’s gene diversity and Shannon’s information index at the population and species level were 76.1%, 0.155, 0.252 and 100%, 0.165, 0.295, respectively. A low level of genetic differentiation among populations (GST = 0.102), in line with the results of Analyses of Molecular Variance (AMOVA), and a high level of gene flow (Nm = 4.407) were observed. Both the Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmatic Mean (UPGMA) cluster analysis and Principal Coordinates Analysis (PCoA) supported the grouping of all seven populations into two groups. In addition, Mantel test revealed no significant correlation between genetic and geographical distances (r = 0.329, p = 0.100). The low genetic differentiation among populations implies that the conservation efforts should aim to preserve all the extant populations of this endangered species.
Thuja sutchuenensis; genetic variation; ISSR markers; conservation implications
After the quasi-extinction of much of the European vertebrate megafauna during the last few centuries, many reintroduction projects seek to restore decimated populations. However, the future of numerous species depends on the management scenarios of metapopulations where the flow of individuals can be critical to ensure their viability. This is the case of the bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus, an Old World, large body-sized and long-lived scavenger living in mountain ranges. Although persecution in Western Europe restrained it to the Pyrenees, the species is nowadays present in other mountains thanks to reintroduction projects. We examined the movement patterns of pre-adult non-breeding individuals born in the wild population of the Pyrenees (n = 9) and in the reintroduced populations of the Alps (n = 24) and Andalusia (n = 13). Most birds were equipped with GPS-GSM radio transmitters, which allowed accurate determination of individual dispersal patterns. Two estimators were considered: i) step length (i.e., the distance travelled per day by each individual, calculated considering only successive days); and ii) total dispersal distance (i.e., the distance travelled between each mean daily location and the point of release). Both dispersal estimators showed a positive relationship with age but were also highly dependent on the source population, birds in Andalusia and Alps moving farther than in Pyrenees. Future research should confirm if differences in dispersal distances are the rule, in which case the dynamics of future populations would be strongly influenced. In summary, our findings highlight that inter-population differences can affect the flow of individuals among patches (a key aspect to ensure the viability of the European metapopulation of the endangered bearded vulture), and thus should be taken into account when planning reintroduction programs. This result also raises questions about whether similar scenarios may occur in other restoration projects of European megafauna.
It has been proposed that the distribution patterns and coalescence ages found in Europeans for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups V, H1 and H3 are the result of a post-glacial expansion from a Franco-Cantabrian refuge that recolonized central and northern areas. In contrast, in this refined mtDNA study of the Cantabrian Cornice that contributes 413 partial and 9 complete new mtDNA sequences, including a large Basque sample and a sample of Asturians, no experimental evidence was found to support the human refuge-expansion theory. In fact, all measures of gene diversity point to the Cantabrian Cornice in general and the Basques in particular, as less polymorphic for V, H1 and H3 than other southern regions in Iberia or in Central Europe. Genetic distances show the Cantabrian Cornice is a very heterogeneous region with significant local differences. The analysis of several minor subhaplogroups, based on complete sequences, also suggests different focal expansions over a local and peninsular range that did not affect continental Europe. Furthermore, all detected clinal trends show stronger longitudinal than latitudinal profiles. In Northern Iberia, it seems that the highest diversity values for some haplogroups with Mesolithic coalescence ages are centred on the Mediterranean side, including Catalonia and South-eastern France.
mtDNA haplogroups; humans; Franco-Cantabrian refuge theory
To evaluate the population genetics structure as a means of devising conservation strategies, we developed microsatellite primers for Sophora koreensis, a narrowly endemic and endangered species in Korea. Thirteen polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed in Korean populations of S. koreensis. Genetic diversity was analyzed in 40 individuals from two populations. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 4 to 14, with observed and expected heterozygosities ranging from 0.200 to 1.000 and from 0.189 to 0.864, respectively. The microsatellite markers described here are valuable tools for the population genetics research of S. koreensis. They can be used to obtain information for creating suitable management strategies to conserve this endemic and endangered species.
endemic species; genetic diversity; microsatellite; Sophora koreensis
Calanthe tsoongiana is a rare terrestrial orchid endemic to China, and this species has experienced severe habitat loss and fragmentation. Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were employed to assess the genetic diversity and differentiation of six populations of C. tsoongiana. Based on 124 discernible fragments yielded by eleven selected primers, high genetic diversity was revealed at the species level; however, genetic diversity at the population level was relatively low. High-level genetic differentiation among populations was detected based on analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), indicating potential limited gene flow. No significant relationship was observed between genetic and geographic distances among the sampled populations. These results suggested that restricted gene flow might be due to habitat fragmentation and reduced population size as a result of human activities. Based on the findings, several conservation strategies were proposed for the preservation of this threatened species.
Calanthe tsoongiana; genetic diversity; ISSR; conservation; Orchidaceae
Rheum officinale Baill., an important but endangered medicinal herb, is endemic to China. Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were employed to investigate the genetic diversity and differentiation of 12 populations of R. officinale. Thirteen selected primers yielded 189 bright and discernible bands, with an average of 14.54 per primer. The genetic diversity was low at the population level, but pretty high at the species level (H = 0.1008, I = 0.1505, PPB = 28.95% vs. H = 0.3341, I = 0.5000, PPB = 95.24%, respectively) by POPGENE analysis. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that the genetic variation was found mainly among populations (74.38%), in line with the limited gene flow (Nm = 0.2766) among populations. Mantel test revealed a significant correlation between genetic and geographic distances (r = 0.5381, P = 0.002), indicating the role of geographic isolation in shaping the present population genetic structure. Both Bayesian analysis and UPGMA cluster analysis demonstrated the similar results. Our results imply that the conservation efforts should aim to preserve all the extant populations of this endangered species, and cultivation is proposed in this study.
Rheum officinale; inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR); genetic diversity; genetic differentiation; conservation strategy
Background and Aims
The widely accepted paradigm that the modern genetic structure of plant species in the northern hemisphere has been largely determined by recolonization from refugia after the last glacial maximum fails to explain the presence of cold-tolerant species at intermediate latitudes. Another generally accepted paradigm is that mountain ridges act as important barriers causing genetic isolation of species, but this too has been challenged in recent studies. The aims of the work reported here were to determine the genetic diversity and distribution patterns of extant natural populations of an endangered cool temperate species, Faxinus mandshurica, and to examine whether these two paradigms are appropriate when applied to this species over a wide geographical scale.
1435 adult individuals were sampled from 30 natural populations across the main and central range of the species, covering major mountain ranges across North-east China (NEC). Genetic variation was estimated based on nine polymorphic nuclear microsatellite loci. Phylogeographical analyses were employed using various approaches, including Bayesian clustering, spatial analysis of molecular variance, Monmonier's algorithm, neighbor-joining trees, principal co-ordinate analysis and isolation by distance.
Genetic diversity within populations was relatively high, and no significant recent bottlenecks were detected in any of the populations. A significant negative correlation between intra-population genetic diversity and latitude was identified. In contrast, genetic differentiation among all the populations examined was extremely low and no clear geographic genetic structure was identified, with the exception of one distinct population.
The modern genetic structure in this species can be explained by extensive gene flow, an absence of mountains acting as barriers, and the presence of a wide refuge across NEC rather than multiple small refugia. Intra-population genetic variation along latitudes is probably associated with the systematically northward shifts of forest biomes in eastern China during the mid-Holocene. To determine important genetic patterns and identify resources for conservation, however, it will be necessary to examine differentially inherited genetic markers exposed to selection pressures (e.g. chloroplast DNA) and to investigate different generations.
Fraxinus mandshurica; nuclear microsatellites; latitude variation; historical migration; fossil pollen; spatial genetic structure; genetic barriers
Background and Aims
The Mediterranean region is of prime importance to biodiversity at a global level, mainly due to the abundance of endemic plant species. However, information about these species is still scarce, especially at the genetic level. In this paper the first assessment is reported of the genetic structure of Centaurea horrida (Asteraceae), an endemic, sea-cliff-dwelling plant from Sardinia.
The study was conducted on seven populations covering the entire natural range of the species by means of SSR (microsatellite) markers.
A considerable amount of genetic variation was found (average He = 0·603–0·854), together with a medium-high differentiation among populations, as estimated both by FST (0·123) and RST (0·158). Both Bayesian analysis and AMOVA were employed to detect genetic structuring in this species. The results suggest that the origins of the current populations of C. horrida lie in two gene pools.
Despite the restricted range, C. horrida displays high levels of genetic diversity, structured in such a way that three management units could be deemed viable for its conservation. The protected status of the species will probably suffice to prevent the impoverishment of its genetic resources.
Genetic diversity; Centaurea horrida; endangered species; narrow endemic; conservation; Mediterranean; Sardinia
Hybridization between invasive and native species accounts among the major and pernicious threats to biodiversity. The Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus, a widely used freshwater aquaculture species, is especially imperiled by this phenomenon since it is recognized by the IUCN as an endangered taxon due to genetic admixture with O. niloticus an invasive congeneric species. The Lower Limpopo and the intermittent Changane River (Mozambique) drain large wetlands of potentially great importance for conservation of O. mossambicus, but their populations have remained unstudied until today. Therefore we aimed (1) to estimate the autochthonous diversity and population structure among genetically pure O. mossambicus populations to provide a baseline for the conservation genetics of this endangered species, (2) to quantify and describe genetic variation of the invasive populations and investigate the most likely factors influencing their spread, (3) to identify O. mossambicus populations unaffected by hybridization. Bayesian assignment tests based on 423 AFLP loci and the distribution of 36 species-specific mitochondrial haplotypes both indicate a low frequency of invasive and hybrid genotypes throughout the system, but nevertheless reveal evidence for limited expansion of two alien species (O. niloticus and O. andersonii) and their hybrids in the Lower Limpopo. O. mossambicus populations with no traces of hybridization are identified. They exhibit a significant genetic structure. This contrasts with previously published estimates and provides rather promising auspices for the conservation of O. mossambicus. Especially, parts of the Upper Changane drainage and surrounding wetlands are identified as refugial zones for O. mossambicus populations. They should therefore receive high conservation priority and could represent valuable candidates for the development of aquaculture strains based on local genetic resources.
Background and Aims
Marginal populations of widely distributed species can be of high conservation interest when they hold a significant or unique portion of the genetic diversity of the species. However, such genetic information is frequently lacking. Here the relevance of genetic surveys to develop efficient conservation strategies for such populations is illustrated using cork oak (Quercus suber) from Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) as a case study. Cork oak is highly endangered on the island, where no more than 67 individuals live in small, isolated stands in siliceous sites. As a consequence, it was recently granted protected status.
Two Bayesian clustering approaches were used to analyse the genetic structure of the Minorcan population, on the basis of nuclear microsatellite data. The different groups within the island were also compared with additional island and continental populations surrounding Minorca.
Very high genetic diversity was found, with values comparable with those observed in continental parts of the species' range. Furthermore, the Minorcan oak stands were highly differentiated from one another and were genetically related to different continental populations of France and Spain.
The high levels of genetic diversity and inter-stands differentiation make Minorcan cork oak eligible for specific conservation efforts. The relationship of Minorcan stands to different continental populations in France and Spain probably reflects multiple colonization events. However, discrepancy between chloroplast DNA- and nuclear DNA-based groups does not support a simple scenario of recent introduction. Gene exchanges between neighbouring cork oak stands and with holm oak have created specific and exceptional genetic combinations. They also constitute a wide range of potential genetic resources for research on adaptation to new environmental conditions. Conservation guidelines that take into account these findings are provided.
Nuclear microsatellites; cluster analysis; marginal populations; conservation guidelines; Quercus suber (cork oak); Q. ilex (holm oak); western Mediterranean; Minorca; Balearic Islands